Auto Insurance FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Diminished Value?
It’s your vehicle’s accelerated depreciation caused by an accident or incident.
When is my vehicle declared a Total Loss?
If the repair cost exceeds 75% of the retail value or if the salvage value + the repair cost exceeds the retail value.
Can I dispute the valuation the insurance company presents me?
Yes, in both Total loss and diminished value cases you don’t have to agree with the insurance company. Most people do and leave money on the table.
How long does it take after the dispute starts before I can collect my fair settlement?
It all depends on the adjuster handling your claim and the dynamic that exists between both of you, but usually no later than 15 days.
My car is financed, do I qualify for Diminished Value?
Yes. As long as you’re the registered owner, you can request Diminished Value.
My car is leased, do I qualify for Diminished Value?
Even-though the vehicle loses value regardless of ownership, only the registered owner can collect Diminished Value unless some arrangement can be made between the lessor and the lessee.
My car had an accident before, does it still qualify for Diminished Value?
Yes, but your compensation will be reduced.
The insurance company sent me a check in the mail for Diminished Value, do I cash it?
No, it’s not recommended. Wait until you send them a response letter and an appraisal, then you can deposit the check as partial payment.
I already cashed my Diminished Value check, what happens now?
Depending on how long ago the check was cashed, you might still be able to request additional compensation. Note, if you’ve signed a release of liability, you may not be able to collect Diminished Value.
Does my vehicle needs to repaired before claiming Loss in Value?
Yes, since Diminished Value is the difference between the pre-loss and post-repair value of a vehicle, said repairs need to be performed before DV can be assessed.
Can I fix the car myself ?
No, repairs need to be performed by an approved body shop. No DIY projects.
How much can I expect for Diminished Value?
This all depends on the severity of the accident and what kind of car you have. Visit our Estimate page for a free quote.
Do I need an attorney to help me collect Diminished Value?
Technically, No. But an attorney is very useful in resolving bodily injury claims and other non-property related damages. We recommend hiring a GTLA member. List.
How can I pick the right appraiser?
What is 17c?
It’s a bad formula insurance companies use. 17c and why it’s bad.
I already sold my car, can I still apply for Diminished Value?
Depends on the insurance company, most cases yes.
Do I need an inspection?
Yes, an appraisal without a physical inspection is just an estimate. In some cases we choose not to physically inspect the vehicle, it all depends on your claim. Please call us at 678-404-0455 to check.
How long will it take to get your report?
In most cases, it’s no later than the end of the next business day.
What happens if the insurance company gets their own appraiser.
That is good news. On a first party claim, we negotiate with their appraiser to reach a settlement.
My repair cost was less than $1,000.
The law does not specify a minimum damage amount in order to apply for Diminished Value. Some high end or luxury vehicles are effected by Diminished Value even if it’s minimal damage. Vehicles under $10,000 in retail value are rarely affected by damages under $1,000.
Will my accident show up on the Carfax report?
If there is a police report recording the accident, yes. Otherwise, Maybe.
Can I hire an out of state appraiser?
Sure, as long as they inspect the vehicle and are competent to appear in a GA court if need be.
Is an independent appraiser hired by an insurance company?
An independent appraiser can be hired by anyone wishing for an unbiased opinion. As long as the appraiser is not a salaried employee of an insurer or a government agency, he can perform appraisals to anyone or anybody seeking one. If an appraiser is hired by an insurer, it is for a specific assignment and his opinion should be the same regardless who hires him. If an appraiser received more than 35% of his income from 1 source, he is no longer independent.
Does your company work for insurance carriers?
Diminished Value of Georgia is an independent auto appraisal company, it is assigned appraisals from the general public as well as rental agencies, self insured entities and insurance companies. 90% of our business is generated from individuals seeking an independent opinion. Our appraisals are the same regardless who hires us to execute them. Insurance companies usually hire us if their appraisal is rejected by a claimant and they need a credible independent opinion to settle the claim or if their own insured has invoked his appraisal clause.
What is the appraisal clause?
On a first party claim, if you fail to reach a settlement with your own insurance company, you have the right to invoke your policy’s appraisal clause.
What does the appraisal clause say?
A. If we and you do not agree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will select a competent appraiser. The two appraisers will select an umpire. The appraisers will state separately the actual cash value and the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by any two will be binding. Each party will:
1. Pay its chosen appraiser; and
2. Bear the expenses of the appraisal and umpire equally.
B. We do not waive any of our rights under this policy by agreeing to an appraisal.
Are there any specific time limits for an insurance company to pay for collision or comprehensive claims?
Some states have specific time limits for the settlement of claims. In general, insurance companies should pay all claims in a prompt and reasonable amount of time. However, what constitutes “prompt and reasonable” may vary from claim to claim. Claims that require special or extended investigation may take longer to resolve. Inclement weather conditions often cause an increase in the number of claims filed and that can slow the process down as well.
May I keep my auto if I have a collision, limited collision or comprehensive claim and my insurance company declares it a total loss?
Your insurance company has the option to take title to your auto when it issues payment on your claim. The insurer is entitled to any salvage value your auto may have. You can, of course, negotiate with your company to purchase your auto for the agreed salvaged value.
Can the insurance company pay me less than Blue Book for my totaled vehicle?
Yes.The Blue Book is only a guide. The company is required to pay you what your vehicle was actually worth (as a used car) the moment before the crash . The adjuster will find out how much used cars like yours (same make, model, and year) are going for in your area . It’s a good idea for you to independently research the value of your car too.
What should be included in the amount the company pays me for my totaled car?
The value of your vehicle. You should also verify how your state addresses sales tax, title & license fees for when you replace a totaled vehicle.
The adjuster recommended a specific body shop. Can I use a different shop?
You can have it repaired wherever you choose. But no matter what shop you choose, the adjuster will base your claim payment on market price for the repairs and pay the local average rates for parts & labor.
Who pays for the rental car while my car is in the body shop?
When the claim is against the other driver’s company , the other driver’s company should pay your rental car cost for a reasonable length of repair time.
If the car is totaled, many companies pay for your rental as a courtesy, but they are not required to do so — your right to a rental ends once a settlement has been offered.
When it’s a claim against your own policy , your company will pay if you paid a premium to include rental reimbursement coverage in your policy. Most policies have a dollar limit for rental payments; your rental car rights are spelled out in your policy.
I got $500 to replace my stereo. Can I use the money for something else?
If you are collecting from another driver’s company, you’re entitled to the cash. Do what you want with it.
Your own company may not pay the full replacement cost until you actually buy the new stereo. And if the stereo did not come with the car, you may need to show the company receipts to prove you had it in the first place.
The company wants to charge more than the agent quoted. Is that legal?
Probably. The company makes the final decision about your rating classification after it reviews your background information.
It is not legal for the agent intentionally to quote you an unrealistically low price to get your business. The practice described above is called low-balling and it can be very hard to prove that’s what happened.
Misquotes usually turn out to be the result of a mistake by the agent or incorrect information on your application. You can protect yourself by completing the application accurately and keeping a copy.
My son has left home for college. Do I still have to include him on my policy?
Yes.Insurance companies recognize that when college students come home they have access to the family car. But the company might reduce the premiums if the college is more than a specific distance (100 miles, for example) from your home.
I’ve had 2 accidents that were not my fault. Can the company raise my premium?
Probably.Premium increases are always more likely when an accident is your fault. But it’s a good chance the company has the right to raise your premiums if you have a second, not-at-fault accident within a policy period.
Sometimes I let a friend drive my car. Is she covered by my policy?
Probably. Almost all liability policies cover a licensed driver who drives your car with your permission. In general, your liability insurance also covers you if you drive a friend’s car and the friend is not insured .
But beware: Some policies state specifically that no other person is covered when driving your car.
The insurance company put the bank’s name on the check for fixing my car. Why?
Because your car is collateral for your loan, the bank (or whoever is financing the car) has an interest in making sure the money is used to repair the car and not for something else.
An uninsured driver demolished my car! Who pays?
Your collision coverage or your uninsured motorist property damage coverage, if you bought it. Either way, you’ll have to pay a deductible.
I’ve been sued by the other driver. Will my policy cover that?
Yes.Your liability insurance covers lawsuits. Your company has a duty to provide a lawyer to represent you in lawsuits accusing you of negligence in driving your car . If you receive a summons or notice of a lawsuit, notify your company right away. Although the company pays for the lawyer, the lawyer’s ethical duty is to represent your best interests. There is no policy limit on how much the company must pay the lawyer to represent you.
If the case is settled or there is a judgment against you, the company will pay up to the policy limit . But if the court judgment or settlement is more than your policy limits, you will have to pay the difference. The company may refuse to defend you if you are accused of intentionally injuring someone or intentionally damaging property.